Okay, I totally promise not to bother you ever again with details of the honeymoon in France that Raymond and I enjoyed six years ago. But tonight – hey, it’s the start of a long weekend! – I just could not resist. I’ve already mentioned how every year when our wedding anniversary comes around, we read from the diary we kept of that trip. Well, this evening Raymond read aloud about the day we travelled by TGV (that’s France’s fast train system) from Paris to Avignon, ended up staying in a very small town outside the largeish city of Avignon, and on a walk through that town on a dreary, rainy, grey afternoon stumbled onto one of the best places ever.
Little did I know when I booked us into a modest hotel in the village of Villeneuve-lès- Avignon that the village was also home to a stunning hotel and restaurant (part of the Relais et Châteaux system) installed in an ancient monastery, called Le Prieuré. But on that rainy, grey afternoon, we spotted a couple of staff members putting out the evening’s menu in front of this interesting-looking old building, took a look at said menu, and immediately booked a table for dinner.
And ended up having one of the best meals of our entire lives, with extraordinary service, in utterly stunning surroundings. And this evening as Raymond read aloud the details of that once-in-a-lifetime meal, it all came back: the wonders of the food, the beauty of the surroundings, how happy we were.
It was an odd feeling to listen to it, sitting here in my rocking-chair corner of the Manse, six years to the day after that wonderful evening took place. As I wrote the other day, when I was growing up in this house in tiny Queensborough, I used to dream and dream about travelling the world and having adventures. And in my book, the best kind of travel adventure is to stumble onto a stunning place in a small town in France on a grey, dreary April afternoon and have one of the best meals of one’s life.
So I guess it all worked out.